The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, February 1, 2012

By Amanda VanAllen

Feb 1, 2012 3:32am

The Note’s Must-Reads are a round-up of today’s political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at www.abcnews.com

Compiled by ABC News’ Jayce Henderson, Jacqueline Fernandez, Amanda VanAllen and Carrie Halperin

MITT ROMNEY
ABC News’ Huma Khan: “Mitt Romney Wins Florida Primary” Mitt Romney sailed to victory in the Florida Republican presidential primary, after weeks of negative campaigning that saw an unprecedented amount of outside money flow into the Sunshine State.  Newt Gingrich placed second, Rick Santorum third and Ron Paul finished last. LINK

ABC News’ Emily Friedman and John Berman: “EXCLUSIVE: Mitt Romney to Receive Secret Service Protection” Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has been informed that it will start receiving Secret Service protection this week, two campaign sources and a senior Republican tell ABC News. Secret Service protection is being given to the campaign not because of a specific threat but because of the increase in crowd sizes as the primary season has progressed over the past few weeks, according to the sources, who refused to be identified because they don’t have authority to comment on such matters publicly. LINK

The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg: “Romney Wins Big in Florida Primary, Regaining Momentum” Mitt Romney rolled to victory in the Florida primary on Tuesday, dispatching an insurgent threat from Newt Gingrich and reclaiming his dominant position as he urged Republicans to rally behind his quest to capture the party’s presidential nomination. LINK

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: “Mitt Romney’s Florida sweep – and how it changes the presidential race” Mitt Romney’s across-the-board victory in the Florida Republican presidential primary on Tuesday night serves as a direct rebuttal to the criticism that he simply isn’t conservative enough to be the party’s nominee and leaves his remaining rivals with few obvious next steps as the nomination fight moves to Nevada next month. LINK

USA Today’s Susan Page: “Comeback kid: Romney sweeps to Florida win over Gingrich” Ten days after a double-digit loss in South Carolina rattled his campaign, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney roared back Tuesday with an equally commanding victory in the Florida primary — raising questions about when and where a defiant Newt Gingrich will be able to regroup. The Sunshine State put Romney back on track to claim the GOP nomination against President Obama, although the party’s most conservative voters remain resistant to the former Massachusetts governor and the battle for convention delegates seems certain to continue through the 10 Super Tuesday contests on March 6 and perhaps beyond. LINK

The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser, Michael Levenson and Martin Finucane: “Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney wins Florida primary, surges ahead of Gingrich” Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney swept to victory today in the Florida Republican presidential primary, surging past former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who had tangled with him in a campaign that was notable for its nastiness. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Patrick O’Connor and Neil King Jr. “Romney Wins Big in Florida” Mitt Romney handily won Florida’s Republican primary Tuesday, riding a new, combative campaign style to a victory that returns him to his role as the favorite to win his party’s presidential nomination. Fueled by a nearly 5-to-1 spending advantage over his top rival, Mr. Romney outpaced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich among conservatives and tea-party supporters and drew nearly even with him among evangelical Christians, according to surveys of voters leaving polling sites. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Mark Z. Barabak: “Romney’s Florida landslide doesn’t mean Gingrich is quitting”  Mitt Romney may have won a blowout victory in Florida’s presidential primary, but Newt Gingrich is not about to concede defeat.  Sounding as though he had already wrapped up the nomination, Romney commended Gingrich and other rivals Tuesday night for a hard-fought effort and minimized any lasting damage to the party or his candidacy. LINK                    

The Washington Times’ Seth McLaughlin: “Romney scores victory in Florida primary” Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reclaimed the top spot in the Republican presidential race with a decisive victory in Tuesday’s Florida primary, making him the first candidate to notch two wins and putting him on solid ground heading into the part of the campaign calendar that fits his strengths as a candidate. News networks called the state for Mr. Romney immediately after the polls closed, and the only suspense as the night wore on was whether Mr. Romney could break 50 percent of the vote, which it turned out he did not.  LINK

NEWT GINGRICH
ABC News’ Elicia Dover: “Newt Gingrich Confident After Florida Primary Loss: ‘We Will Be in Tampa as the Nominee’” Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wants to make one thing clear: he’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. Gingrich’s second place finish in the Florida primary Tuesday was what Gingrich says is proof this is now a two man race for the nomination with Mitt Romney. As a winner take-all-state, Gingrich will receive none of the 50 delegates that were up for grabs. LINK

The Hill’s Niall Stanage: “Gingrich vows to press on after Florida defeat” The Sunshine State handed Newt Gingrich a defeat Tuesday night, but he insisted that he would plow on with his presidential bid nonetheless.”We are going to contest every place, and we are going to win,” he told supporters in the ballroom of a hotel here after Mitt Romney had been declared the winner of the Florida primary. He added, “We will be in Tampa as the nominee in August,” referring to this summer’s Republican National Convention. LINK

FLORIDA PRIMARY
Politico’s Maggie Haberman: “Florida 2012 Republican primary: 5 takeaways” This time, Florida saved Mitt Romney. After losing the state in 2008, the resurgent frontrunner rose off the mat from his South Carolina loss to rout Newt Gingrich Tuesday after a bloody battle. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS:
Florida Primary in :60LINK
Florida Primary 2012: Gingrich Not Conceding Race“ LINK

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